Community and administration

Entries about Baha'i community life, about Baha'i administration, and about how the two intersect.

In California, Indian Tribes With Casino Money Cast Off Members

{josquote}It is the decision by a majority of the Tribal Council that you are hereby disenrolled.{/josquote}

COARSEGOLD, Calif. — The six-page, single-spaced letter that Nancy Dondero and about 50 of her relatives received last month was generously salted with legal citations and footnotes. But its meaning was brutally simple. “It is the decision by a majority of the Tribal Council,” the letter said, “that you are hereby disenrolled.”

Nikah Dondero has been ejected from her California tribe.

And with that, Ms. Dondero’s official membership in the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, the cultural identity card she had carried all her life, summarily ended.

“That’s it,” Ms. Dondero, 58, said. “We’re tribeless.”

Full story...

Ian C. Semple, 1928-2011

Ian Semple

HAIFA, Israel — Mr. Ian C. Semple, former member of the Universal House of Justice, passed away today in Switzerland. He was 82 years old.

The Universal House of Justice has sent the following message to all National Spiritual Assemblies:

Full story...

Spirituality's fine by us but there's little faith in religion

Australians don't like religions with celebrity endorsements, which the Church of Scientology has a swathe of.

AUSTRALIANS see spirituality as quite separate from religion, with the former much more widely accepted, according to the results of a national survey to be released in Melbourne today.

What they really dislike is celebrities endorsing religion, stories of healing and miracles, and doctrines about homosexuality and hell.

Commissioned by Olive Tree media, the survey of 1094 people shows that while Australians are generally open to spirituality, they feel they are unlikely to find it in church.

Olive Tree director Karl Faase, who is releasing the report at a forum of 70 religious leaders, said the survey sought to identify the ''blocker issues'' that turned people off faith.

Full story...

Mormons’ Ad Campaign May Play Out on the '12 Campaign Trail

Mormon advertising campaign {josquote}...members in good standing were asked by their bishops to go to the Web site and post their own personal profiles and testimonies.{/josquote}

After Sunday worship in recent months, Mormon bishops around the country gathered their congregations for an unusual PowerPoint presentation to unveil the church’s latest strategy for overcoming what it calls its “perception problem.”

{josquote}Screeners reviewed the text before it was made public to make sure that nothing in it contradicted church theology...{/josquote}

Top Mormon leaders had hired two big-name advertising agencies in 2009, Ogilvy & Mather and Hall & Partners, to find out what Americans think of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Using focus groups and surveys, they found that Americans who had any opinion at all used adjectives that were downright negative: “secretive,” “cultish,” “sexist,” “controlling,” “pushy,” “anti-gay.”

Full story...

Religious chic

Trendy

Real-estate tycoon Pan Shiyi and his wife Zhang Xin are among China's most famous followers, according to media reports.

"I like Bahá'í because it's a very tolerant religion and easy for me to understand and follow," said Deng Sheng, who converted more than 10 years ago.

"The essential message of the Bahá'í faith is unity. Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion, taught that there is only one deity and one human race and that all the world's religions represent stages in the revelation of God's will and purpose for humanity.

"The time has arrived for the uniting of all peoples into a peaceful and integrated global society."

For this reason, Bahá'í is translated as datong jiao ("the religion of great unity") in Chinese.

{josquote}"Theoretically it should have registered for group activities, but as our country applies a policy of free religion, as long as those activities don't break the law, the government will let them be."{/josquote}

New religions work in two directions, wrote Ye Xiaowen, a former director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs.

One is moving upwards to stand alongside traditional and mainstream religions, while the other is going down towards mysterious anti-government cults.

Full story...